What are the side effects of valproic acid?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Valproic acid is an anticonvulsant commonly used to treat mania (abnormally excited mood) in people with bipolar disorder, particularly bipolar 1 disorder. In teenage girls, valproic acid may increase levels of the male hormone testosterone. This can increase the chance of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), particularly in young women who take valproic acid before age 20. PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in childbearing women in the US. PCOS causes the eggs to develop into cysts and results in obesity, excessive body hair, acne, and other serious symptoms.

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